Beauty Literotica: Face Forward by Kevyn Aucoin

Hi everybody,

Like clockwork, every two weeks I’d like to publish a review of a makeup and/or beauty book. While some books got reactions from you guys, my Faithful Readers, others felt to make a splash. (And I wonder why, hmmm?) However, I don’t let the lack of comments to discourage me. I keep on trucking out reviews after reviews because I believe that you will gain some valuable knowledge from reading these books (and that’s why I push you, I don’t earn any money from at all!)

Cover of Face Forward by Kevyn Aucoin
Image courtesy MAC cosmetic at Vox

So, this week I am going to present to you a makeup book that’s probably the greatest gift from Kevyn Aucoin to humanity. If you’ve read my review on Making Faces, you know it is a really good book about makeup. I thought it was great before I checked out Face Forward from the local library. Let me tell you one word that came to my mind when I read this book: Outrageous!

No, I didn’t say “amazing”. I didn’t say “outstanding” either. I said “outrageous” because Face Forward really pushes the frontier of makeup. And it was written in 2000! Outrageous, isn’t it?

Face Forward is the extension of Making Faces, providing that you already know the basis covered in the later book. Written in the same friendly style as Making Faces, Face Forward touches base on the basics but very lightly. If you are looking for the ABCs of makeup, I highly recommend Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual instead. However, Face Forward is the source of inspiration for makeup aficionados since 2000 (and I suspect for many years to come!)

One great thing about this book is the concept of balance. If you remember makeup in the 80s, you see there was no balance in the makeup. Everything was so colorful and bright. Cyndi Lauper and her multicolor eye shadows, do you remember that? Kevyn Aucoin brought balance to the world of makeup by describing four faces:
  • Face One: intense lips, intense eyes.
  • Face Two: intense lips, light eyes.
  • Face Three: intense eyes, light lips.
  • Face Four: light eyes, light lips.
Illustration of Face One

Julia Roberts

Of course, we all do one (or all) of the faces once in our lives. However, we rarely notice why some looks work for us better than others. I did not realize smokey eyes and nude lips work very well for me until I started to take pictures of myself. With that knowledge, I hit le smokey very hard and as a result, you see a wide variety of that look a lot in this blog. Had I read this book earlier, I could have learned the concept of contrast and balance to make them work for me.

Like Making Faces, Face Forward consists of numerous makeovers from normal people to celebrities. Unlike Making Faces, this book takes the concept of makeovers to another level: transformations. I was in awe to guess the names of the celebrities after the transformations. Some of these transformations came out to be big shockers. I am going to put two pictures here and you’ll guess the names of the celebrities before the transformations, ok? (You can post your guests in the comment box as well!)
Veronica Lake
But really, who is this lady?

But in real life, she's not really Cher :)
(Clue: her mom is a famous designer!)

I can go on and on about Face Forward for ages because this book is outrageously great! As people said, “A good artist does not give up his tricks,” Kevyn Aucoin was great at keeping his. While some looks in Making Faces were duplicated later in some limited editions of certain makeup companies, the looks from Face Forward are less replicated because he did not give step-by-step illustrated instructions. So, the only way to copy the looks is to have good eyes and an analytical mind.

Love this look!

This is the best picture of Lady M I've ever seen!

The copy of Face Forward I hold is tattered at its best. The cover was long gone and some unknown previous loaners cut off some pages from the book. The library patrons of this city are nowhere near a group of rogue rage. Most of the books I’ve checked out were in great shapes. I guess the battered state of this book is one way to measure its greatness. Or as I said earlier, outrageously greatness!

Tomorrow, the answers of the identities of the two celebs in the above pictures are going to be on my Twitter page. Please follow it and find out! Also, if you think I can have some improvements in my book reviews (or other reviews), please comment and let me know. I intent to have the book reviews as a fixture of this blog as long as I can get/loan makeup and beauty books.

That's all for today, folks! Please guess the transformed celebs in the comment section. I'll post the answers tomorrow :) Also, stay gorgeous and have a nice weekend!


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